How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near North Little Rock AR
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near North Little Rock AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in North Little Rock AR labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including North Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of North Little Rock AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some North Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local North Little Rock AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in North Little Rock AR.